Given the lack of money that has been made in the last two years, I suspect the pressure will be to run the fleet as hard as possible. Same goes for the poor contact centre. Cold hard cash will be more important than Net Promoter Score.
If the average wait in the call centre is many hours... the number of people you would have to hire to bring that number down to 5-10 minutes is astronomical. I can’t see that happening. Until customers vote with their wallets and forward bookings start to drop, QF will pretend to improve the situation.
Same goes for the fleet. Given the opportunity to get another half rotation or rotation of a bird vs customer complaints because of a few hour delay... the cold hard cash will win the day.
It’s going to be like this for a long time I think.
If they had competent well trained staff then the call centre wait times would not be so long. I mean to take an hour of an agents time to do a simple flight cancellation is not exactly efficient. Even better if you could do half the stuff effectively online but you can't.
To be honest the other challenge is the industry has woefully under resourced development of digital solutions to ticketing, and the integration between airlines, OTA, trade, and IATA is maddeningly complex - only the American carriers have truly embraced proper digital solutions but at a cost - but it’s paid off!! Ticketing it, but it’s just such a complex beast it takes a lot of experience to navigate these ancient systems - I’d say the churn of staff would be phenomenal!
The industry really needs a Uber style digital disruption - somehow get rid of e-tickets that simply mimic the old school red coupons! LCCs had the right idea with bookings only, no tickets!!
And this is the biggest problem, I came from working in reservatons for 15 years with QF (through 9/11, Ansett, Icelandic Volcanos). Airlines reservations work with GDS systems (Amadeus, Sabre and others), that are basically NOT internet based, airlines try to build user friendly (both for the customer and staff) interfaces that are internet based. Then someone has to write coding that allows the two systems to interact. Simply put, it gets lost in translation between the two systems. As such, there is a limit to what can be programed into qantas.com to rectify the situation.
The flight credits that are held (for at least Qantas's perspective) are just dummy / pseudo flights added to a booking to keep the booking active, these pseudo flights go out as far as the QF system range allows (353 days). Once that date expires, the booking / credit is sometimes archived (read only) where the consultant has to rebuild a new booking (with a new reference number), adding in the old e-ticket number and working out an additional collection. If multiple credits, potentially multiple archived bookings. It's simple, yet tedious to go thorugh them all).
Another issue for qantas.com is if the credit is from a travel agent booking. Qantas.com can't pick up travel agent bookings that have been held in credit either through the agent, through their webpage or through any manual intervention by the reservations team. In fact, any booking that's been touched manually (by a res agent or anyone in qantas for that matter, automattically stops the ability for qantas.com to pick up the booking. Previously, once one change is complete through the internet, that was it, no more changes through the internet would work. Not sure if that has improved.
The over an hour to cancel a frequent flyer booking through the call centre is disgusting. No denying it. It should be a quick 5 minute (if that) job. You may have heard during the recording that one of the call centres is in Cape Town (South Africa), I still have contacts and I have heard that the turn over rate for staff is shocking. As much as 40 percent every year also on top of that is the bare bones training and lack of geographic knowlege that they have (didn't realise that OOL and BNE airports were approximately 100km apart as an example). The times on hold are probably the staff asking a colleague, supervisor, team leader questions that they have no idea about.
Previous Qantas reservation staff, that have moved elsewhere within the company, are now trying, being told / asked to help out with some of the back end work (queue work and schedule change work) as well.